The opening of the Early Childhood Development Centre in Anna Catherina, West Demerara–Essequibo Islands demonstrates government’s goal to provide a safe educational space for children.
This was the view shared by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan as he officially commissioned the centre today. The Minister told those gathered that the initiative will create a comprehensive learning space for children from infancy to five years old, while providing training and the generation of job opportunities for the young people living in the community.
According to Minister Jordan, early childhood education is vitally important to the development of the country. “…as the Minister of Finance …I am prepared to work with the regions, ministries, and early childhood department to make sure that we have more of these structures…” Minister Jordan stated.
The Regional Executive Officer (REO) Denis Jaikaran said that the administration will establish a committee that will include representatives from the RDC, health and education departments as well as those attached to the centre to assist in the maintenance and management of the centre.
He also promised to explore the possibility of the ground behind the school being used as an area for physical training for those attached to the centre.
The establishment of the centre is a collaborative effort between the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), Regional Administration and the Office of Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment Unit (PAYEU).
The contract for this project was awarded to Builder’s Hardware and General Supplies at a cost of $35Million and was one of several projects signed under the Basic Needs Trust Fund’s seventh programme.
The facility includes four care areas/classrooms, a sleeping area, sick-bay, a staff room, an administrative area, storage spaces, a kitchenette, a laundry room, sanitary facilities, and an outdoor play area for the children.
Registration and Licensing Officer (RLO) Zalika Williams said, “Today this structure before us is evidence of a successful partnership between BNTF and government agencies; hence we are cognisant of our role towards the sustainable development of this community; therefore, we will be working with the regional administration in the licensing of the center and will ensure that it is a model facility in the region.”
Over the last 25 years, the BNTF Guyana office has been working to address poverty reduction by providing access to basic infrastructure and services in rural and urban communities. BNTF also trained 64 young women and two young men as early childhood educators earlier this year, eight of which are selected to cater to those attach to centre.